Sustainability Office





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Demand Management

In order to reduce electricity costs and contribute to the sustainability of the province’s energy system, Queen’s participates in a peak demand management program. As part of the program, Physical Plant Services (PPS) shuts down air conditioning systems in a number of campus buildings on roughly 14 afternoons over the months of July, August and the first week of September. These shutdowns are timed to coincide with the expected peaks in provincial electricity demand and, combined with the university’s cogeneration activities, are expected to save roughly $2.5 million on the university’s electricity costs.

Financial and sustainability benefits

Queen’s has been participating in the program since 2012 and this year the university will potentially save $2.5 million on its electricity costs in 2016-17 and contribute to a sustainable energy system in Ontario.

The university’s annual electricity bill is roughly $11.5 million, with approximately 50% of that amount attributable to a charge called the “Global Adjustment” (GA). The GA is applied to the electricity bills of Ontario’s large electricity users based on their proportion of total provincial demand during the 5 peak demand hours from the previous year.  It was established to recover costs associated with renewable power generation and other power contracts, and to create an incentive for large electricity users to reduce their consumption during peak demand periods and thereby reduce or delay the need to purchase electricity or construct new power generation capacity, both of which can carry financial and environmental costs.

Savings Results to Date

north america as seen from space at night

2013/14 $120,000
2014/15 $920,000
2015/16 $2,250,000
2016/17 $2,690,000
2017/18 $5,110,000
2018/19 $4,190,000

Affected Buildings

The following buildings will be impacted by air conditioning shutdowns. Note that buildings with large labs and those without central cooling systems are not included in the program.

Beamish-Munro Hall     Chernoff Hall (Admin Wing/Theatres) Douglas Library     
Dunning Hall  Fleming Hall, Stewart-Pollock Wing Gordon Hall          
Jeffery Hall John Deutsch University Centre MacDonald Hall 
Queen’s Centre  Richardson Hall
Rideau Building
School of Kinesiology Stauffer Library   Watson Hall

Impact on building occupants

Building occupants will likely notice temperature increases during the shutdown periods. PPS will distribute weekly notices of anticipated air conditioning shutdowns and we recommend that departments inform staff and plan accordingly. Staff and faculty may wish to wear clothing appropriate for slightly higher indoor temperatures.

Last year, during the two-hour long air conditioning system shutdown, interior building temperatures increased by 2 or 3 degrees. With this year’s shutdowns running for a longer period (noon to 6 pm), temperature will naturally increase by a greater amount. However, where possible, PPS will attempt to mitigate this by pre-cooling buildings prior to the shutdown. Keep in mind, not all campus buildings have air conditioning systems.

Health and safety is always a top priority and PPS will closely monitor building temperatures. Anyone with concerns is encouraged to contact FIXIT at 77301 or by email.  The university has health and safety guidelines for working in hot environments.

PPS will be working with Event Services to ensure that conferences happening on campus are not disrupted by the shutdown. If you are holding a conference on campus and would like more information please contact FIXIT.